With recent bear sightings in Sierra Madre, Monrovia and La Cañada Flintridge, authorities in Pasadena are warning that it’s only a matter of time before residents encounter a bear here, too.
Lisa Derderian, Acting City Public Information Officer for the City of Pasadena, said bears coming down to Pasadena neighborhoods is quite common this time of the year.
“Every year we have bear sightings in Pasadena,” she said. “We have had more in our neighboring communities recently. Obviously with the weather, they are coming down lower.”
Derderian said if you do see a bear in your neighborhood, stay away and to leave any close encounters “to the professionals.”
“If there is imminent danger, always call 911,” Derderian said. “Sometimes when people see on the news that there is a bear in the neighborhood they pack up the family and go to take pictures. A bear is not a tourist attraction. We want people to stay away from the bear.”
In Monrovia, CBS reported getting calls about a bear being seen knocking down a trash can in an unspecified neighborhood Wednesday morning.
Last Friday, authorities in La Canada Flintridge decided to put three area schools on a temporary precautionary lockdown due to a bear sighting in the backyard of a nearby home Thursday. Other schools in the area were notified as Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies monitored the bear.
In April, three bears that local residents called “Mama and the Cubs” romped through a Monrovia neighborhood and even made their way into a backyard looking for food.
This is definitely a good time to start learning what you should do if you see one in your neighborhood.
The Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA said black bears, the only bears local to Southern California, are typically timid and nonaggressive, unless defending their young, and prefer to avoid people. But certain conditions can drive them towards humans.
“When bears become ‘food conditioned,’ they will seek human food out instead of finding their own natural foods,” the Pasadena Humane Society said. “Fires and droughts can also force bears and other wildlife further in their search for food and water.”
The Society said the normal human reaction to encountering a bear is to freeze or run away, but these actually send the bear the wrong message.
“You need to let the bear know that it needs to leave! First, make sure the bear has a safe escape route. When you are a safe distance from the bear, make eye contact and yell at the bear. If you have bear spray, make sure you are upwind of the bear before using it,” the PHS said.
To keep bears away from your home, the Pasadena Humane Society has listed some basic tips for homeowners:
• Do not put out trash cans the night before pick up
• Store garbage cans in a garage or shed
• Keep garbage cans clean. Disinfect with ammonia or bleach.
• Promptly collect fruit that falls from trees. Harvest fruit as soon as it’s ripe.
• Remove plants that attract bears, such as any berries including Dogwood.
• Eliminate bird feeders during spring and summer when there are natural foods available for birds.
• Eliminate compost piles.
• Keep barbecue grills clean and free of drippings.
• Consider purchasing bear spray and keep it at your front/back door.